Tag Archives: Setup

Migrating to Vista

Two weeks after the new computer (A Dell XPS 420) arrived, life has finally settled down enough for me to start moving all my stuff. Moving the data files was easy enough (I figured out years ago that a LAN is the easiest way to do that), but getting Apache up and running so I could work on some of my web sites turned out to be “painful.”
I’d been running v2.0.50 of the Apache HTTP server on my XP machine for the past five or six years, so my first attempt was to just rerun that install and be done with it. No such luck. The install ended with a message stating that the service hadn’t been installed and nothing further.
My first thought was that Vista’s tightened security was probably responsible, so I logged back in as an admininistrator and ran the install a second time. Still no dice.
Hoping to find some tips for installing under Vista, I headed over to the Apache Project’s web site and discovered that the current version of the HTTP Server was 2.2.8. Aha! Perhaps the new version has some adaptations to handle Vista? (Reading the site later, I discovered that the newest version of Windows mentioned in the online install tips is Windows Server 2003, so perhaps not. Then again, nobody likes to write documentation – myself included – so I don’t really know.)
A quick visit to Google however, searching for the terms Apache, Vista and Install led to a suggestion that perhaps User Account Control (UAC) was to blame and suggested turning it off during the install. Voila!
So, here’s the steps that worked for me:

  1. Login as an administrator.
  2. Go to Control Panel, Go to the “User Accounts and Family Safety” applet, Click on “User Accounts” and then select the option to turn User Account Control off. (You’ll have to reboot at this point.)
  3. Run the Apache 2.2.8 installer, using the recommended settings. (In particular, make the server visible to everyone on port 80.)
  4. Point a web browser to http://localhost/ At this point, you should see the message, “It works.”
  5. Go to c:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\conf and make whatever changes you need to the http.conf file. (Make a copy first, and forget about simply copying the entire file from an earlier version, though you may be able to copy sections. At a minimum, you’ll probably want to change the DocumentRoot to something outside the Program Files tree. You’ll also likely need to change the permissions in the <Directory /> section a few lines further down. )
  6. Once you’ve changed the http.conf file to your satisfaction, log out from the administrator account and log in again as a regular user to make sure the server is still accessible.
  7. Optionally, login again as the administrator, repeat step 2, and re-enable the User Account Control.

I still need to go back and set up PHP, but this was sufficient for me to get back to some more pressing web site work.

Installing Ubuntu

I don’t really know why I waited until so late in the day – or early in the morning – to do it (at least in part it was because I was meeting a friend for late dinner at 8:00), but about a year after installing Xandros on an old Compaq box and never getting back to it, I decided to dump Xandros and install Ubuntu in it’s place.
Getting the WET54G wireless bridge set up last weekend was a three-hour process, and also a subject for another day. For now, the most important tip is that the machine you’re using to set it up needs to be set to an address on the network. If you want to set the bridge up by hand instead of using the “Quick Setup” disk, you need to use your browser to connect to UserId and Password are both “Admin” (they’re CaSe seNsitIVe by the way).
I don’t have any great amount of experience with any Linux distribution (or with Linux at all really), but I’ve been wanting to add Linux to my pool of knowledge for a while. There wasn’t any one powerful reason to switch distributions, except that a year ago I couldn’t get an updated version of Firefox to install on Xandros (in fact, I even managed to wipe out the old version) and when I used the Xandros management software to do an update this evening, the most recent version was 1.5. (Current version for Windows is
For all I know, installing the most recent of Xandros would have given me the current Firefox and maybe the ability to run SETI@Home too, but Ubuntu’s been getting a lot of buzz recently and since I’m a newbie, I’m going to want to be find help easily. If I’m going to install a new distribution, I may as well go with the crowd for now. (Please don’t leave me a zillion comments saying, “Oh, you should have used distro-X instead, it’s much easier. I’m sure each distribution has its own particular charms. I’m happy enough for now.)
My first ever boot from a live CD was an interesting experience. I’d already set the machine to boot from CD, so after switching it on, all I had to do was reboot and let it go. My CD drive is a bit noisy and for a while it sounded like there was a cow mooing in the spare bedroom.
Once the system came up, I was presented with about seven different menu choices. After a few dubious experiments with the memory test and such, I finally chose the default Setup/Install option and let it fly.
When the system stopped mooing again (I may need to rename that machine to “Bossy”; too bad it’s not a Gateway. 🙂 ) my screen was divided into vertical sections divided by flashing/jumping/irritating lines. After playing with the menu bar at the top of the page, I found the “Resolution” tool under preferences and dropped both the resolution and the refresh rate by one notch each, this made the CRT much happier and no doubt saved me from a migraine.
The screen I was presented with turned out to be a functional Linux desktop. A working email client, Firefox 2.0.something, Open Office, and even a few games. (It has Suduko — Dad will enjoy discovering that.) Along with the menu at the top (all the basic system utilities), there were two icons on the desktop. I’m not really sure what to make of the “Examples” folder, though the musical clips were nice enough. After poking around for a bit, I double-clicked the “Install” icon.
The installation program seems simple enough. Seven prompts for things like your time zone, how much of the hard drive to use for Linux, and information for the main user account and then the system starts whirring away, writing stuff to the hard drive so it will run faster. (The Live CD is a nice idea, but aside from the mooing, it’s slow.)
The install is still running, probably due to the age of the hardware as much as anything else (PIII with 256 MB of RAM and a 120 GB drive) so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out how it all went. I’m a little concerned that the main user account created during the install is going to turn out to be running with administrative privileges, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it (At least I know enough to be concerned about that sort of stuff).
In the meantime, I’m going to let Bossy keep mooing while I go and get some sleep.